Lessons from the Wal-Mart parking lot

Published 5:33 pm Saturday, October 8, 2016


al-Mart, the place dreams go to die. At least that’s what lamentations of the many patrons would have you believe. The convenience Wal-Mart offers is soon forgotten when people are stuck in a line that seems to stretch on forever. I know, I’ve been there.

And yet, it’s at Wal-Mart that I was reminded of the importance of faith.

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I wasn’t planning on going to Wal-Mart that day, but a certain precious baby of mine had bumped her head. Her screaming lasted maybe three minutes, but my crying and shaken nerves lasted at least 30. Once she was giggling and cooing, I knew she was alright, but I wanted to apologize to her for the traumatic (on my part) experience. We packed up, and I took her to Wal-Mart to buy the Fisher Price Sit Me Up I had been debating buying for a couple weeks.

It was business as usual at Wal-Mart. No tortuously long lines despite it being both Friday and the first of the month. Helen had fallen asleep while shopping, as she normally does. As we walked out the door, I was already thinking about the next thing I had to do. Would she stay asleep long enough for me to unload the dishwasher or even straighten up the living room?

As I was unloading my buggy, a girl who looked like she was in her late teens or very early 20s walked up to us.

“Do you go to church?” she asked, appearing slightly nervous.

Interacting with strangers always makes me anxious, especially if I’m not sure how I’m supposed to behave, but I fumbled out an affirmative answer in one form or another.

“Well I do, too, and Jesus just told me to give you $20,” she said handing over some cash and running off before I could say anything.

I stood there in shock for a minute. I didn’t need $20, but I did need a sign. I hadn’t asked for one. I hadn’t even really known I needed one.

It was as if God was telling me you needy girl, just trust me. I’ve got this.

Needy isn’t normally a description I would have of myself, but the truth is I’m incredibly needy in my desire for independence. I don’t like asking for help. I don’t like relying on someone. Maybe it stems from pride, which I have long known is an aspect of my personality that I need to improve upon.

I’m certainly not saying that independence is inherently a fault, but it can be when it is accompanied by stubbornness and pride, especially when I don’t accept that I cannot function truly independently. Anthropologically, humans are social creatures, which inherently requires others. Our society is a complex mesh of interactions between people from practical matters such as jobs and food to all the social aspects we enjoy and need.

Spiritually, we are fully dependent upon God. Sure, we can live without God. We can eat, breathe and work by our own power, but thriving, finding our passion and accepting the bad requires a dependence on something greater. Having faith means we can depend on God. He’ll make it possible for us to achieve our purpose and achieve a fulfilled life. He’ll show us how to fully use our talents to achieve his work.

Does that mean he’ll make us rich? It may be a byproduct for some, but riches on Earth mean nothing in Heaven. Does it mean bad things won’t happen? Definitely not. We live in an imperfect world because with free will comes the ability to make the wrong decision.

Trusting in God does mean saying goodbye to worry and by extension receiving peace. It means letting go of hate and being washed in love. It means sharing God’s grace, both in your words and by your actions.

Julia Miller is the lifestyles editor of The Daily Leader.